John Mametsa will be the only unchanged backline position when the Vodacom Blue Bulls run out at Ellis Park on Saturday as a series of injuries hit the Light Blue camp like a tidal wave.
The SA under-21 fullback, Hennie Daniller, will play his first Currie Cup match after injuries to Johan Roets (hip) and Riaan van der Bergh (knee).
Ettienne Botha injured his calf and would originally have been replaced by Wynand Olivier, but after JP Nel fractured his toe, it was decided to move Olivier to outside centre. Morné Steyn also moves out from flyhalf to inside centre and Derick Hougaard has been promoted to the starting line-up. Steyn has played numerous games at centre in the Vodacom Cup, but will make his first Currie Cup appearance in this position on Saturday.
Danwel Demas has a fractured eye socket and he has been sidelined for the next month. Gavin Passens is, however, ready to fill his shoes.
Heinie Adams has also not been considered for Saturday due to a bruised shoulder and the Sevens Springbok, Stefan Basson, will take his place.
There are less disruptions to the forwards, but a calf injury to Andries Human means that Richard Bands will play his first Currie Cup match of the season.
Danie Coetzee’s inclusion in the team is the only one not to be precipitated by injury and on Saturday he will run out in his 50th game for the Blue Bulls.
The coach, Mike Bayly, said that the Lions possess a better team than the Sharks on paper and that the Blue Bulls will have to lift their game. He did, however, add that he prefers to have the injuries at this point in the season and not later on when the matches will assume greater importance. He did, however, stress that the Blue Bulls are a proud side and will throw everything at the Lions for a victory although his side would not start as the favourites.
Vodacom Blue Bulls:
Hennie Daniller; John Mametsa, Wynand Olivier, Morné Steyn, Gavin Passens; Derick Hougaard, Stefan Basson; Anton Leonard, Warren Brosnihan, Ruan Vermeulen, Francois van Schouwenburg, Danie Rossouw, Richard Bands, Danie Coetzee, Kees Lensing. Plaasvervangers: Adriaan Strauss, Wessel Roux, Adriaan Fondse, Derick Kuün, Danie van der Merwe, Kennedy Tsimba, Keegan Fredericks.